Urinary tract issues are not that uncommon in cats. Especially with cats that have been on a dry food diet for some time.
A lot of dry foods don’t provide the proper balance of nutrition and vitamins a cat needs and they can develop urinary tract crystals (struvite stones).
A health condition that is a particularly uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous health issue if left untreated.
While it’s vital you get your cat seen by a vet and act on their advice, they will almost certainly recommend some dietary changes going forward.
One of the cats I adopted many years ago went through this exact process. By changing up his diet to include the best cat food for urinary tract crystals he made a full recovery and never had further issues.
Here is everything you’ll need to know about why some cats develop urinary tract crystals, the signs to look out for, and the best foods to help your kitty avoid this health issue.
- What Causes Urinary Crystals in Cats?
- What Are the Signs That Your Cat Might Have Urinary Tract Crystals?
- Best Cat Food for Urinary Tract Crystals: 4 Top Brands
What Causes Urinary Crystals in Cats?
There are a number of known causes for urinary crystals in cats, these include:
- Poorly balanced diet
- Lack of water over a long period
- Certain medications and drugs
- Predisposition of the breed
- Existing medical conditions
The most common cause in domestic cats, however, is due to their diet. There is a strong link between urinary crystals in cats that eat only dry commercial food.
So, if you’ve been feeding your cat on a dry food diet this is almost certainly going to be the cause, or at least worsening the problem.
I have to say, don’t feel bad if your cat’s health issues are due to the diet you’ve been providing. It’s not your fault.
Dry food has been created for the convenience of cat owners, and it’s on the manufacturers for not rounding it off with the proper nutrition.
The real issue here is spotting the signs of bladder problems and doing something about it as soon as possible.
What Are the Signs That Your Cat Might Have Urinary Tract Crystals?
Some commons signs to look out for if you think your cat has urinary tract crystals include:
- Struggling to urinate (possibly meowing when trying)
- Urinating frequently
- Excessive grooming of genitals
- Spraying or urinating outside of their litter box
- Passing blood in urine
- Swollen bladder (seen around the tummy)
The very first signs something is wrong a cat is typically seeing a change in their behavior or routines.
Cats are creatures of habit. If you cat starts urinating outside of their box, showing signs of discomfort (cats hide pain really well, so don’t feel bad if you don’t pick up on this), and acting lethargic, then something is up.
If you have an indoor check if they have been urinating more/less in their litter box and when they last past urine. This information will help the vet with their initial examination.
Best Cat Food for Urinary Tract Crystals: 4 Top Brands
Here are four different cat foods that are effective at dissolving struvite crystals in cats, as well as reducing the risk of future crystals.
Always read the labels carefully for each product. Although all cats have their own individual circumstances, they cover how much you should be feeding your cat and how to introduce the food into their diet.
Purina Pro Plan Urinary Tract Health (Best Wet Food)
This Urinary Care cat food from Purina is designed to help maintain your cat’s health and reduce the chance of stones/crystals forming again after dissolution.
The nutrition in this product has been clinically proven to dissolve struvite stones and help reduce recurrence.
It’s still rich in fish oil, Omega fatty acids, and all the other nutrition you’d expect from a quality cat food. So, it’s a complete feed for a balanced diet.
Dry kibble and wet food options are available. You’ll find all the feeding guidlines and how fast to introduce this into your cats diet in the instructions.
Purina ONE Indoor Urinary Tract Health Cat Food (Best Dry Food)
This is a cat food designed for indoor cats from Purina. Their ONE formula reduces urinary pH and is low in magnesium, two things that help cats with urinary tract concerns.
The crunchy kibble doubles up as being good for teeth and digestive systems, along with the urinary tract formula to reduce the risk of stones and crystals.
Choosing between brands is difficult. If you have a fussy cat that likes his food, one of the selling points from Purina is the flavor (which shouldn’t be compromised on).
Made with real chicken they say it’s a winner in the taste tests. It has a good all-around balance of nutrition, one of the best offerings on the market and worth considering.
Forza10 Urinary Active Cat Food (Best Budget Food)
Forza10 Urinary Active provides a specially formulated diet designed to help support a healthy urinary system.
The ingredients in this food stop struvite crystals forming. It’s ideal for cats with FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease) or those at risk of developing crystals.
There is a complex combination of botanicals that help the kidneys to work better, keep the environment of the urinary tract healthy, and I’m assured it tastes great too.
While not a brand I was familiar with, and I’m sure not many cat owners will have tried it. Forza10 is worth consideration if your vet has recommended a change in diet due to bladder issues and crystals forming.
Royal Canin Diet Urinary SO Cat Food (Best Scientific Formula)
I’ve used a number of Royal Canin products over the years and my cats have always taken to their foods, so they must be tasty. Which is a huge plus.
Their Urinary SO is formulated for cats with dissolution of struvite uroliths, management of recurrent stuvite and calcium oxalate urolithiasis.
In simple terms, this means this food is designed to dissolve the minerals that are responsible for forming stones or crystals in the bladder.
As you’d expect from a reputable brand, this feed has been carefully and scientifically formulated to ensure the best possible health of cats.
I hope this article has not only helped you find the perfect food for your cat to maintain optimal health and avoid issues with crystals in the future. But also helped you understand the nutritional needs of cats more.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave a note below. I’m always happy to hear from other cat owners that have been through the same things as my cats and I.